My daddy always told me that only fools complain without having a solution. Ok, he used more colorful language – after all, he was a Navy man. But this is the PC version of some rather sage advice.
I mention this since day before yesterday I wrote a bit about my frustration (and based on the responses I’ve read, yours as well) with Congress’ unwillingness to actually do anything about immigration, or DACA, or the budget, or pretty much anything else. But I’m following my daddy’s advice. Now, you can say I’m as mad as a hatter. In fact, I’m pretty sure some (if not all) of you will think so by the time we get to the end of this. Then again, if you’re following me here (or on Twitter or Facebook) you probably already think I have a screw or two loose, so what have I got to lose?
First up, these are all separate issues. Stop the grandstanding. Please. The fate of illegal aliens brought here as children is not related to how much we pay our servicemen. How many people we let in (and how we decide who those people are) has nothing to do with kids brought here when they belonged somewhere else. Trust me on this. How many people are employed by the EPA (or even if there should be an EPA) is a completely different discussion from what to do about the roughly 8 million illegal aliens who wouldn’t be covered by some sort of “DACA fix.”
So, do the simple stuff. The House passed all twelve of the appropriations bills for this fiscal year last September. Pass those out of the Senate. That is entirely up to Democrats. If they ended their charade now, they could pass the current CR tonight, then spend the next month debating those appropriations bills and where there are differences with the House bills, go to conference to hammer them out. That is the “regular order” which liberals spent all last summer demanding the Congress return to, but have conveniently forgotten about now that they want to execute “leverage.” Have I mentioned recently what a bunch of hypocrites politicians are?
Second, stop pretending Congress can only work on one issue at a time. Or, if there are congresscritters who can only tackle one problem at a time, they need to retire immediately. Think about your job. How long would you be employed if you couldn’t do more than one thing a month? Oh, you would be looking for another job? Then why haven’t your fired your representative?
Of course Congress can address multiple issues at once. So while debating the appropriations bills, there is nothing stopping them from beginning real work on all those other issues.
And here’s my proposals around each of them.
The DACA program ends on March 5. So address that first. My position hasn’t changed since the President first announced he was ending the highly illegal program. Grant those who’ve applied to the program permanent residency. Allow those who have reached adulthood and lived here for at least ten years, without incurring a felony charge, to apply for citizenship immediately. Otherwise, it’s the same restrictions as for any other alien resident. See, that was simple.
Next, all other illegal aliens (or undocumented migrants, or whatever the term du jour happens to be): they gotta go. Again, my position hasn’t changed since I first wrote about this 4 1/2 years ago. And yes, proper and aggressive enforcement of our immigration laws will get the majority of them to self-deport. Nobody wants to live in a place where they can’t eat.
Our immigration system needs an overhaul for current times. The idea of “diversity visas” and lotteries is not just stupid, but asinine and awkward. For my less prurient readers, it’s like getting drunk, walking into a whorehouse, grabbing the first available girl, and going off to do your thing without wearing a condom. You’ll spend the rest of your life regretting that decision – and that’s if it didn’t kill you. We obviously can’t take everyone who wants to live here, but that gives us leverage. We can pick and choose, and we should pick the very best candidates. And we should have back-end enforcement of that selection process: anyone granted alien residency in the United States should be required to become a citizen within ten years of arrival – or they should be sent packing.
As an aside to that point – I can’t recall where I read it, or heard it, but there was a legal resident who said she would never become a US citizen, because she was proud to be Jamaican. I have no problem with her being proud to be Jamaican; it’s a beautiful island with some great people. But be a proud Jamaican in Jamaica. If you’re going to live here, then you need to be a proud American. That shouldn’t even be up for discussion. And anyone not willing to give up allegiance to their country of origin should not be granted residency here.
What this means in practical terms is ending the hodge-podge of work and travel visas that currently muck up both our immigration system and allow so many illegal aliens to stay here after their visa expires. No more H-1B or H-3N or any of that other nonsense. You can get a tourist visa to visit, or you can get a residency visa. Period.
Finally, there is the both the federal debt and federal deficit. We aren’t even in February yet, which means there is plenty of time to start working on these problems now, before the appropriations bills for FY2019 have to be ready. Before Congress gets to work on them this time, I would have them ask themselves one thing: if 40% of what the federal government does is “non-essential,” why is the federal government doing those things? Think about it. Our budget deficit is about $600 billion, on around $4.2 trillion of spending. A little math says the recently passed tax bill, assuming no increased revenues from economic growth, will add $180 billion to that deficit. A little more math says reducing federal spending by 40% would yield around a $900 billion surplus. That won’t get rid of the nearly $21 trillion federal debt, but it sure will put a serious dent in it.
Okay, that’s a lot for now, I realize. This ending the partisan idiocy that grips Capital Hill is enough to send your head spinning, but the solutions aren’t that hard. They certainly aren’t as hard as the heads of our congresscritters. But that’s where it’s up to you. If they won’t do the job, then it’s time to fire them all.
You get your chance (again) in November.
One of Donald Trump’s tag lines this election has been that he’s going to build a “big, beautiful wall” along our southern border and get Mexico to pay for it. The idea is that such a wall will prevent illegal aliens from entering the country. In an election that has been defined by emotional hyperbole, it’s turned into Trump’s clarion call. So how effective would it be? How would Mexico be forced to pay for it?
First, walls have been used since the beginning of civilization as a way to keep “others” away. They’ve proven since the beginning of time to be more of a psychological defence than an effective physical defense. From the famed walls of Jericho to Hadrian’s Wall, they’ve all been breached. Medieval warfare centered on methods for breaching castle walls. Constantinople was famed for its walls, but the city was conquered. The French grew so complacent behind the Maginot Line that they never even considered the German’s running around that wall.
Most recently, the East Germans built a wall around West Berlin. It even included machine gun emplacements and mine fields. The purpose was to keep the east Germans in East Germany. How effective was it? The simple fact that I’m writing this post in English from a comfortable office in the USA can tell you that.
So, walls aren’t terribly effective at actually keeping populations separated. But there is the psychological factor. It might make us feel safer, so perhaps the cost to build a 1700 mile long wall makes sense from that perspective. Of course, we’ll have to remain focused on wetbacks crossing the Rio Grande and completely ignore the fact that half of our illegal alien population came here legally and then overstayed their visas for that to make sense. There’s no wall that can change that.
Oh, yes – the cost. How much would it cost to build a 1700 mile long wall, say 15 feet tall and 8 feet wide? Well, just in concrete, that would work out to around $39.5 billion – that’s at the going rate of around $90/yard. To make it a wall that wouldn’t collapse under its own weight, you’ll need to reinforce with rebar, and of course you’ll need explosives, tools & equipment, manpower, etc. Let’s say the final cost is around $100 billion.
I think giving everyone in America a year’s supply of Xanax might be cheaper, if you’re looking for a way to ease our collective anxiety.
That cost (I know, Trump is saying he can do it for $8 billion, but not even he could swing that real estate deal) wouldn’t be an issue IF you could, in fact, get Mexico to foot the bill. But really, Mexico is a sovereign nation. They are hardly obligated to pay our bills. Trump has said he’ll use the trade deficit with Mexico to seize the funds. That’s so nonsensical I have a hard time believing I actually even need address it, but here I go. Trade deficits are not accrued by governments – they are the difference between the imports and exports of trade goods between nations. And, just to demonstrate how silly even Trump thinks that notion is, another major point of his platform is that he’ll redress trade imbalances by forcing companies to make everything in the US. So, if there isn’t a trade deficit with Mexico, then there is no way to seize those thousands of balance sheets from private companies and presenting them to the construction companies. who built the wall as payment.
Exactly. Trump’s entire idea can be imagined this way: your neighbor has a dog, who insists on doing his business on your front lawn. After months of feuding with your neighbor over his not curbing his dog, you finally get fed up and build a fence. All your neighbors “ooh” and “ah” over how beautiful you fence is. It is truly the most impressive fence they’ve ever seen. It even has camera emplacements and a barbed wire top, disguised as a giant flower garden. When the contractor presents you with the bill, you give him an IOU, telling him to collect from your neighbor. He sues you and you spend the next three years in court, fighting over the bill.
In the meantime, your neighbor snickers at you from his side of the fence. Eventually, the courts rule in the contractor’s favor, but now with interest and court costs your $4,000 fence is going to cost you $8,000.
And then, to add insult to injury, one morning you walk onto your front lawn and find that a mole has taken up residence. Your big, beautiful wall didn’t do the job, after all.